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25% Of Americans Have Holiday Debt from Last Year

For some shoppers, the upcoming holiday season may lead to piling on more debt. About 25% of Americans are still paying off holiday debt from 2022, according to WalletHub.

But those already carrying a balance could find themselves sinking further into the red if they don’t get a handle on their credit card debt. “If you’re in a hole, stop digging,” says Ted Rossman, Bankrate’s senior industry analyst.

One reason you may want to avoid racking up more debt is that higher interest rates are making it more expensive to pay down. As of November, the average credit card interest rate has risen from around 16% to nearly 21%. This is due to the Federal Reserve raising interest rates in March 2020 in an effort to combat inflation.

A higher interest rate means it could take longer and be more expensive to pay down your credit card debt. Rossman says, “Even a more modest $1,000 balance (from last year’s holiday gifts, perhaps) would keep someone in debt for 40 months and cost them $390 in interest if they only make minimum payments at [the current average rate of] 20.72%.”

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